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  1. #11
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    Hi. As a belly dance student from India, I thought I should share my perspective here. While I completely agree with all your points, I would just like to point out that a lot of times, belly dancers, specially tribal dancers, are also responsible for this. It is not uncommon to find tribal dancers incorporate steps from classical indian dance forms, or even dance on classical indian music. (Steven eggers and april rose's performance tribal fest performance is a good example. It's a Beautiful performance,though) Some even dance on indian classical music. This confuses people and they come to the conclusion that there must must be some connect between BD and India. I know this is an old post, but well..

  2. #12
    Member Ahava_Melantha's Avatar
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    thank you Jans. I deeply appreciate your perspective and thats very true. Plus there a bolly/oriental fusion. I know it confuses a lot of Egyptians, calling something belly dancing but wearing a choli top, etc.

    I'm an orienetal girl myself. Although I lean more towards Egyptian style and folklore styles. but again thank you.

  3. #13
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    Thank you for understanding. Almost all belly dance schools in India are fusion ones. If you don't mind me asking, is this inherently a bad thing? I am new here, and belly dance is new in india as well. Though the instructors at these schools are very qualified, trained under "superstars' and regularly travel to the ME to update their skills. Most of the time we dance only on arabic music, and the CDs given to us consist only of arabic music. But we have alot of fusion performances as well. Meher malik has a lot of fusion performances, where she combines BD with kathak. (Trained in both) Could you please help me? I am deeply confused.

  4. #14
    Member Bellydance Oz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jans View Post
    While I completely agree with all your points, I would just like to point out that a lot of times, belly dancers, specially tribal dancers, are also responsible for this. It is not uncommon to find tribal dancers incorporate steps from classical indian dance forms, or even dance on classical indian music.
    Yes of course they do - that's what Tribal belly dance is all about, it's a 20th century American dance invention which was created from a fusion of many different dance styles. ATS incorporates elements from Indian, Spanish, Middle Eastern and probably others I'm not familiar with. Tribal fusion can include any dance forms you like - I've seen fusion with ballet and hip-hop.

  5. #15
    Senior Member Duvet's Avatar
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    When I visited India in 2004, when bellydance came up as a topic (as a hobby), I was informed by my hosts that bellydance came from India. I had never heard this before. But I have other Indian associates today in the UK who also inform me that bellydance is from India. All these persons just happen to have lived or come from Kerala. Is there a stronger 'tradition of bellydance' in Kerala, are these people mislead about their own cultural dances, or are they all (and it was children, women and adults) reflecting a myth imported to their country from the west? If an imported myth, when do you think it would have happened, and why would they want to believe and claim bellydance as Indian?
    Last edited by Duvet; 11-10-2015 at 09:44 PM.

  6. #16
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    Thank you so much for your reply As a newbie, I was extremely confused. A lot of our instructors first began to dance on indian music because there were so many negative stereotypes about belly dancing in India, and dancing on indian music sort of..helped people connect with it. Now things are changing though! Thanks.

  7. #17
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    Hello Duvet. I am very surprised that your hosts and your associates told you that, honestly. The first (and the only) time I ever heard this, was from a indian belly dancer who told me that 'apparently' there are some traces of similarity between rajasthani dance and BD, but she said it's all very ambigious. (She, btw, was told this by a egyptian teacher 0_0 ) I have learnt now, through this forum that it's not true. But I have never heard of any other indian person say this. Belly dance is always perceived as a Middle eastern thing, an 'alien' dance form by people in India. So I am quite surprised at that. Personally, I do not see ANY similarity between dances that have originated from Kerala and BD, and I am a student of both. Kerala is the birth place of many dance forms and maybe this leads people to wrongly believe that it originated from there maybe? There is no tradition of bellydance in India, not that I know of. The only dance form that just happens to have a bit of similarity is rajasthani dance.(specially the whole 'gypsy' idea, costumes and certain steps) But people don't even compare these two in India. So I am quite surprised at this, but I can assure you that hardly anyone in India thinks of BD as anything 'indian', forget originating from india. Hope I helped

  8. #18
    Senior Member Duvet's Avatar
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    Thank you Jans. I was very doubtful when my Indian hosts told me bellydance was Indian, even back then when my knowledge and experience was pretty low. It was children and women who told me this (I was staying in a children's hostel). In the UK it was quite recent that Indian men informed me that bellydance is Indian.

    Perhaps it is because the history is so uncertain that Indians, just like Europeans, assume a superficial similarity is enough of a connection. Yet I was (naively?) surprised that people could be so confused about their own cultural dances. I do notice that all these people were Christians - whether that adds any perspective. Next time I hear it said, I'll challenge them for where they heard it from!

  9. #19
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    Christians and children? Wow even more confusing :o I don't know about Europeans,but in India the problem is that there are SO MANY dance forms and cultural practices and diverse groups of people, that it leads to confusion. We arent a homogenous group of people. Its a very diverse country with groups of people who are culturally very different from each other. There are around 10-12 classical dance forms ( Mohiniattyam, Bhangra, Ghoomar, kathak etc) and most have nothing in common with each other. On top of they are all perfomed on music of different languages. And I haven't even added stuff like mujra and of course, Bollywood to that. One individual cannot possess knowledge on all these, hence the confusion about their 'own cultural dance forms'. Indian people don't have one 'cultural dance form' that they all well informed about and connect with. North indians do not have any connect with Bhartanattayam, in the sense that they consider it to be 'Indian classical' but dont consider it be 'theirs' and south indians have zero connect with Rajasthani dance forms, because of language barriers. I don't think the similarity between BD and Rajasthani dance is what made people believe that BD originated from India ( now that you mention that they were Christians from Kerala) but some other Ill informed dancer or person (or countless internet articles). Who knows! in India people give me a very wide eyed response when I mentioned that I belly dance, and always add stuff like ' oh I saw belly dancers when I went to Egypt! They were so hot/beautiful/ amazing. (Most common) or 'aren't you too thin for belly dance? Most Egyptian belly dancers are curvy!' Or (You see, I'm extremely thin) That instant connect with the Arab/ other world. *Sigh* sorry this is really long :/
    Last edited by Jans; 11-11-2015 at 08:39 PM.

  10. #20
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    If you want more information on this topic (or the reason why people believe this) check these - http://bhuz.com/bellydanceblog/history-of-belly-dance-rajasthan/ http://www.bhuz.com/belly-dance-traditions-styles/54128-indian-dance-belly-dance.html
    Last edited by Jans; 11-11-2015 at 08:13 PM.

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